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Hit the Road with Chet Garner

The Grove’s Groove

Normal is a matter of perspective at a haunted Jefferson home

The story about the lady in white was spooky. The tale of a barber who visits regularly was strange. Anecdotes of disembodied noises and unexpected presences left me unsettled. But the scariest part of my visit to the Grove—Jefferson’s most haunted home—was my guide: Mitchel Whittington seemed totally normal.

Chet found Mitchel Whittington, owner of the Grove, to be totally normal. Chet, not so much.

Courtesy Chet Garner

He wasn’t wearing a dark robe or making alarming pronouncements. He simply recounted his ghostly encounters as if describing his morning coffee routine. His matter-of-fact presentation left me with the unnerving conclusion that he was telling the truth. I was terrified and intrigued.

Jefferson sits in the northeast corner of Texas and was once a bustling port city from which barges laden with cotton steamed to New Orleans. The downtown retains its historical architecture and charm. Even so, every building seems haunted and underscores Jefferson’s reputation as our state’s most haunted town.

When I arrived for my tour of the Grove, I expected an ominous Victorian structure covered in spiderwebs. Instead, I found a well-kept, one-story home with Whittington on the front porch to welcome me with a smile. He led me room by room, describing mysterious events he has witnessed.

I asked if it’s scary to live in a haunted house. Whittington laughed and said, “No, it isn’t. It’s a peek into the other side. And when I’m gone, I’m gonna come back and check on it.”

I enjoyed the tour but was happy to leave safely on this side of reality.